Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and his team of three Cabinet members formally submitted their resignations this morning, paving the way for a long-anticipated Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
However, Prime Minister Prayut declined to comment on the resignations. “I haven’t seen the news yet,” he said before departing for a visit to Si Sa Ket this morning.
The three Cabinet members resigning along with Somkid are Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana, Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong and Higher Education, Science and Innovations Minister Suvit Maesincee. Also resigning is deputy secretary-general of the Prime Minister’s Office Kobsak Pootrakul.
The four announced their resignations at a press conference at the Governmnent House. Uttama said their resignations had immediate effect.
After submitting their resignations at the Government House, the four paid respects to the Brahmin shrine, atop the Thai Khu Fah building, and at another shrine at the Banchakarn 1 building.
“We want to help the country move forward, to dispel political uncertainty, and to relieve pressure on the prime minister,” said Uttama when asked for reasons for their decision to quit.
He insisted that they were not pressured to resign by members of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party which recently went through a major leadership change.
He thanked the Prime Minister for giving them the opportunity to serve the country, adding that he believes qualified people will soon be found to replace them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sontirat stressed that the four have not thought about forming a new political party, “but we are ready to help for the good of the country. We are not abandoning ship. Whenever we can be of help, we are ready,” he said, adding that, they will take a break from politics for the time being.
“The country’s current situation requires all available energy and attention to deal with the issues at hand. We don’t want politics to be an obstacle,” said Sontiraj.
Mr. Suwit, meanwhile, said in his Facebook post, that his main mission at the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovations has been accomplished, after one year and six days in the post, “but the mission as a Thai citizen, who is grateful to the Land, is not yet over. I still have the mission, with the Thai people, to help drive the country forward in a spirit of unity,” he said.
The office of the spokespersons of the PM’s Office said this morning that Deputy Prime Minister Somkid has cancelled his plan to present policy on village funds and urban communities in the southern province of Chumpon.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)